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Architecture Firm and ESA To 3D Print Building On the Moon

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the if-you-print-it-they-will-come dept.

Moon 113

An anonymous reader writes "Internationally acclaimed architecture firm Foster + Partners built the Hearst Tower, the Millennium Bridge, and the Gherkin here on earth — and now they're setting their sights on outer space with plans to produce a 3D printed building on the moon. Today the firm announced that it has partnered with the European Space Agency to develop a lunar base for four people that can withstand the threat of meteorites, gamma radiation and temperature fluctuations. Since transporting building materials to space is a challenge, the team is considering using on-site 3D printing as a solution."

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113 comments

PC Load letter (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | about a year ago | (#42758535)

Getting the printer up there is the trick. But perhaps I'll go rtfa ....

Re:PC Load letter (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | about a year ago | (#42758557)

Unsatisfying blurb on fosters site. A regolith dome over a inflatable original structure. It makes good sense, but the hype should be more about the fact that its a manned moon base. For some reason it reminds me of all the press gherry got for using "aerospace manufacturing techniques" for the skin on the Bilbao Guggenheim and then again for the Disney center. Architecture sucks.

Re:PC Load letter (2)

trdtaylor (2664195) | about a year ago | (#42758599)

Inflatable/expandable structures are weaker, leak more, and have more points of failure than a rigid pre-defined structure. It's one of the reasons why the ISS is the shape it is.

Re:PC Load letter (3, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year ago | (#42758625)

NASA isn't so convinced; that's why they're testing an inflatable module [nasa.gov] for the ISS.

You don't need structural strength in microgravity, and Bigelow claim their inflatable modules offer more radiation and ballistic protection than rigid cans. No idea about the "more points of failure" part - I'd have thought an inflatable structure would be simpler though. Do you have citations?

Re:PC Load letter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758651)

There is a large difference between an inflatable in orbit and an inflatable underground.

The bigelow module is more radiation resistant because its inflated with water. I don't know about ballistic protection, would need to see some reports. The ISS uses a combination of kevlar and whipple shields for micrometeorite protection.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whipple_shield

Re:PC Load letter (2)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year ago | (#42758717)

Inflated with water? Are you sure about that? I can't see any mention of any Bigelow design being inflated with anything except air.

Current designs like the BA-330 [wikipedia.org] use multiple Whipple-style layers of shielding fabric, including layers of Kevlar and Vectran, akin to the TransHab [wikipedia.org] design they're based on.

I would imagine an inflatable module could be perfectly adequate as a construction support, especially in lunar gravity.

Re:PC Load letter (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year ago | (#42761793)

I think the water is an internal area for super shielding in the event of a radiation event. The 'core' area astronauts can retreat to for short term (a week or two) safety. Though I think that's more on the trip to Mars rather than ISS. Same concept I think though.

Re:PC Load letter (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about a year ago | (#42760429)

``inflate'' things with concrete or local equivalent, and you gots a very sturdy and structurally sound structure.

Re:PC Load letter (1)

hinckeljn (2829683) | about a year ago | (#42761725)

Inflatable is inherently leak proof. As for structurally resistant you have to consider that on the vacuum of the moon surface it will be pressurized (for human inhabitants); that makes it very stable. Maybe a better way would be to excavate a an underground cave and seal proof it with an inflatable liner.It should be much easier to excavate than 3D print it. You could use robots to do the excavation. Or look for some natural lunar cave. There are evidences that they do exist on the lunar surface

Re:PC Load letter (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#42763549)

Inflatable/expandable structures are weaker, leak more, and have more points of failure than a rigid pre-defined structure.

Build it out of sintered/vitrified regolith. Plenty of material around, and a solar dish provides all the thermal energy you'll ever need.

Re:PC Load letter (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42758723)

..but the hype should be more about the fact that its a manned moon base.

..and the criticism too. Unless we plan to do something on the moon that cannot be done in earths orbit or even on the earths surface, then whats the point?

Sure, we can climb a mountain 'because its there' but whats the price tag? Its one thing when its someones personal wealth injected into their personal endeavor, but its another when its public money spent with little benefit to the public.

I've heard it suggested that rocket fuel could be made on the moon, making it possible to fuel up ships exploring the solar system more efficiently, but I havent actually seen any credible plans to do something like that.

Re:PC Load letter (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year ago | (#42761819)

Unless we plan to do something on the moon that cannot be done in earths orbit or even on the earths surface, then whats the point?

Practice in an environment that is reachable by a rescue team? The moon is the perfect place for us to work out the problems with starting to colonize other planets/asteroids.

Everything else is a one way trip if you run into trouble.

Re:PC Load letter (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42762843)

The moon is the perfect place for us to work out the problems with starting to colonize other planets/asteroids

You are presuming that its desirable to colonize significant gravity wells as a public works project..

Convince me that your presumption has something compelling behind it, because the way I see it space stations are the future.

Re:PC Load letter (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year ago | (#42763693)

Gravity wells are were the 'stuff' is. If you want any resources you have go to down to the surfaces, whether planet, moon or asteroid. Perhaps you can ferry yourself up and down every day cheaply, but living on the surface is the cheapest way to go.

But space stations in orbit provide usefulness as well. Both will be necessary.

Re:PC Load letter (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year ago | (#42763723)

As a perfect example. Oil platforms. People have 'colonized' the open ocean to live in small restricted habitats. Boats are harder to handle long term in the ocean since they are by definition more fragile than a solid grounded platform.

Space stations will require all the shielding the ground colonies will require, but you have to lift all that shielding out of your original gravity well. Better to use what you have available at the bottom of your destination well. No lifting of any shielding is necessary and thus it's much cheaper.

Re:PC Load letter (1)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year ago | (#42762251)

..and the criticism too. Unless we plan to do something on the moon that cannot be done in earths orbit or even on the earths surface, then whats the point?

The techniques developed, and experience gained in doing something like this would be excellent, and applicable, for doing similar on Mars.

Sure, we can climb a mountain 'because its there' but whats the price tag?

What is the appropriate cost for mitigating against planetary-scale extinction events like the impact that killed the dinosaurs? Colonizing other planets is exactly a sensible and intelligent thing to do if you want to enhance your survival rate as a species .. if the Dinosaurs had Martian colonies, they'd still be alive today.

In any case, the costs we're talking about are comparatively incredibly miniscule. Consider that the War in Iraq ALONE cost an estimated $3.4 TRILLION. And yet a few tens of billions to potentially ensure the survival of our species in the longer term, and not have all our eggs in one basket, is "too costly"? Come on.

Re:PC Load letter (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42763061)

Colonizing other planets is exactly a sensible and intelligent thing to do if you want to enhance your survival rate as a species ..

Colonizing space itself is far more sensible and intelligent than this planet colonization hollywood dream. It would take hundreds, if not thousands of years to make Mars a second chance for humanity. Colonization isnt enough if we cannot thrive there, because Mars gets hit by big things from space too.

Re:PC Load letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758797)

If only they had a 3D printer up there, they could print most of the parts for the 3D printer they need...

Re:PC Load letter (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#42758913)

Even worse, when you run out of photo cyan the shipping rates for a replacement cartridge make it almost not worth it.

Re:PC Load letter (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758929)

They aren't. This is just one of a million different studies to test the feasibility of a technology that the agency has no intention of funding on its limited budget. The ESA, like NASA, has no focus. If the ESA or NASA were building an vessel to sail across the Atlantic Ocean they would first spend billions to determine if it should be done with sailboats, speed boats, or submarines. 15 years later, a 15 kg unmanned hybrid speed boat sailboat submarine powered by an RTG with radiation shielded computers and the most advanced and lightweight scientific instruments ever invented would depart from London on its mission to the Azores. Once the technology was demonstrated, they would cancel further missions since their research on how to avoid icebergs ate all of the budget (the laser to bore a hole through the iceberg had significant cost overruns).

Re:PC Load letter (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year ago | (#42761927)

And a whole lot fewer people would die than did trying to cross the atlantic by just 'going'.

And of course it being inherently harder than just 'sailing'...

Re:PC Load letter (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#42767155)

But a whole lot more people would die by being trapped in Europe during a difficult period. The difficult period would have been worse absent out immigration.

A few less native Americans would die. But despite wishful thinking, there weren't that many to begin with. Stone age technology is estimated to have supported between 50,000 and 500,000 people in Europe. Why so many more claimed in the Americas? Wishful thinking by the native American studies types?

Re:PC Load letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42759121)

Ce n'est pas la 'Letter' Americaine, c'est A4!

WOW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758545)

This is amazing, very exciting. Can't wait for us to return to the moon and actually establish a base there.

Re:WOW! (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#42758791)

Who is this "us" you are speaking about? I haven't been there and neither have you.

PS. In the unlikely event that you are Buzz Aldrin, please don't hit me.

Re:WOW! (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#42760495)

"Us" is being used in the collective sense, as in a nation or the entire human race. I can't believe people graduate from college not knowing these things.

Re:WOW! (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#42761533)

"Us" is being used in the collective sense, as in a nation or the entire human race. I can't believe people graduate from college not knowing these things.

I can't believe people graduate from college not knowing what a joke is.

Re:WOW! (1)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year ago | (#42762371)

Actually (yes yes, I'm humorless), while it is a logical fallacy to 'anthropomorphize' society as a collective, society as a collective does actually also exist - there are some senses in which it is not a fallacy, and the GP's use of "us" is correct.

Correct: "Can't wait for us [humans] to return to the moon"
Incorrect: "We choose to go to the moon, not because .."

Re:WOW! (1)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year ago | (#42762397)

(The latter is incorrect reasoning because "choosing" is only something individuals can do. When we say that everyone "chooses" collectively, what we really mean is that some less-than-100% percentage of individuals has chosen to do something - which reveals that some percentage of individuals have in fact not "chosen" to do so at all, but may well have objected to trying. In practice, this may either just be "linguistic shorthand" for what was really meant, or an error in reasoning.)

Haha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758575)

What a bunch of faggots. Baquack Obamailure must be butt buddies with them.

HUEHUEHUEHUE

Of course; (2)

jafac (1449) | about a year ago | (#42758619)

It's probably the only viable manufacturing strategy in that environment. And; in fact, the same strategy DSI plans on pursuing in their asteroid-mining venture.

Re:Of course; (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#42760137)

I dont think it's the only viable one.
But it certainly simplifies a lot of the logistics. Isntead of having to haul hundres of diferent parts and materials....you just haul the printer up along with one, perhaps two or three, material blanks for the printer to use. Bloody brilliant in terms of simplification. About the only thing simpler would be total pre-fab on earth, but its not practical doe to shipping size limits.

Re:Of course; (1)

Metabolife (961249) | about a year ago | (#42761163)

Hmmm, that seems like a sneaky way to get some investment capital. 1. Print asteroid rich in REM and gold 2. Shoot it into outer space 3. Send ship to mine it 4. Profit

You People Are Sick (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#42758623)

You know, I can't understand how you people can accept so many pedophiles in your midst. I mean seriously, you all just blow it off.

All these basement geeks with obsessions with tentacle porn and under-aged females with hairless pussies... And then there are the freaks into young teen "emo" boys - preferably virgins...

It's really quite disgusting.

The number of perverts here that seem to be into "old lady sex" is astonishing.

Perhaps it has something to do with so many of you assholes being permanent residents of your mother's basements.

Seriously, maybe you folks should stop wearing your mother's "granny panties"?

Re:You People Are Sick (2)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#42758663)

Oh, so sorry, someone should have told you... it only looks that way because we lock them in the same room as the trolls.

Re:You People Are Sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758683)

Oh, so sorry, someone should have told you... it only looks that way because we lock them in the same room as the trolls.

You DO understand that if you are locked in a room with nothing but an under-wire push-up bra and a pair of granny panties for 15 years, and are fed nothing but Double Cheese Whoppers and Pepsi, at the end of this you become a fat grandma, right?

Re:You People Are Sick (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#42759051)

Oh, so sorry, someone should have told you... it only looks that way because we lock them in the same room as the trolls.

You DO understand that if you are locked in a room with nothing but an under-wire push-up bra and a pair of granny panties for 15 years, and are fed nothing but Double Cheese Whoppers and Pepsi, at the end of this you become a fat grandma, right?

Yup. Doesn't matter even if you started out as biological male. Welcome to the US, where a weird poor black boy turned into a weird rich white woman.

Re:You People Are Sick (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#42764793)

Sorry, the topic is about Chinese hacking not Michael Jackson. please get with the program...

You betcha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42767229)

I like porn involving a buck naked young woman acting like a chicken, 'laying' a hard boiled egg, then strutting around clucking and strutting like a chicken proud of her hard work.

Did I mention she had to have a feather duster up her butt? She also can't poop out the feather duster while 'laying' the egg. I imagine that requires some muscle control.

If that makes me a pervert then so be it. I also like to eat hard boiled eggs while watching.

Link to ESA Site (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758641)

The ESA site has a little more info that the sites linked in the summary.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Technology/Building_a_lunar_base_with_3D_printing

For certain values of "to" (3, Insightful)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year ago | (#42758645)

Summary: "Architecture Firm and ESA To 3D Print Building On the Moon"

Article: " to explore the possibilities of 3D printing to construct lunar habitations."

I'm all for cool stuff, but I prefer it when the cool stuff isn't just pie in the sky.

glad they opted for 3D... (4, Funny)

mschaffer (97223) | about a year ago | (#42758669)

I am glad they opted for the 3D printer. Imagine if they opted for a 2D printer. It would have been very disappointing.

Re:glad they opted for 3D... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758965)

I am glad they opted for the 3D printer.

The 2D printer option is still on the books in case of budget cutbacks. That extra 1D is 'SPENSIVE!

Re:glad they opted for 3D... (1)

magarity (164372) | about a year ago | (#42762429)

I am glad they opted for the 3D printer. Imagine if they opted for a 2D printer. It would have been very disappointing.

Millions of school children disagree; the Moon is about the only place Flat Stanley hasn't visited.

Too easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758671)

Fuse lunar regolith from earth with a fricking laser beam then call me.

This will not get 10 feet off the ground (2)

wakeboarder (2695839) | about a year ago | (#42758673)

Funny thing is when it costs a few billion dollars, thoughtful ideas will get you nowhere. I wish people would be more serious about proposals. Getting money to make a prototype is not the same as going to the moon and actually printing a building. They don't have "plans to produce a 3d printed building on the moon" they have plans and funding to build a prototype. If you had a dollar for every project like this you would be a millionaire.

Re:This will not get 10 feet off the ground (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#42758865)

it's good to have done projects like this and the technology tested. That way the only thing left is getting a cheap enough heavy lifter developed.

Suppose Elon or Bezos or somebody else finds a way to put a pound in orbit for a couple hundred $. You don't want them going, "Dang, now we have a good launch vehicle, but we still don't have a good spacesuit or habitation module or hyrdoponics so we gotta go start making them now."

Like if you're trying to build a supercar, and the experimental V-20 hyperturbo engine isn't ready yet, you don't just sit around doing nothing... you work on the chassis and the brakes and other stuff while waiting for the engine.

Re:This will not get 10 feet off the ground (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760333)

If someone creates a launcher that does at least 2000lbs to LTO for $150/lb and 500lbs is enough for one person's round trip, I'll buy a ticket to the moon (likely costing $100k/person). Any more and it's all but impossible for an average joe to pay.

The Apollo Command/Service module weighed 66,871lbs. That's 22290 lbs/person to get there. Can we do better? Maybe. Bigelow's planned BA-330 module will support six crew with a mass of 43000 lbs. That's 7166 lbs/person, but without the rocket engine.

I'd crack... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42758741)

Anyone want to place some bets on how long four people in a tiny, bunkerlike hamster habitube surrounded by dust and hard vacuum would last before they really started head downhill psychologically?

Re:I'd crack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758991)

Except for the dust, you might ask the ISS crew.

Seriously, this is a problem that is well-known, is being worked on, and involves training the crew beforehand. Rest assured that, if it took you one minute to come up with this argument after reading the article (really !?), then anyone even thinking about flying to the f'ing moon will also consider that.

Re:I'd crack... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#42759061)

No clue. Howbout we send up both my ex-wives as a test case?

Re:I'd crack... (1)

magarity (164372) | about a year ago | (#42762463)

bets on how long four people
  No clue. Howbout we send up both my ex-wives as a test case?

Dude, if both your ex-wives make a test case of four people, well, maybe they divorced you for a reason?

Re:I'd crack... (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about a year ago | (#42760285)

Been worked on for over 60 years. Not a new question.

In fact the first nuclear submarine crews were studied for this very reason because once the Navy had the ability to put these guys in a steel tube underwater for 6+ months at a time (as opposed to only about 36hours max with the old subs) they became perfect test cases for NASA for long term space exploration.

Several russian cosmonauts have spent a year or more in space.

and they dont just send any Tom Dick and Henry into space. These people are screened, physically and psychologically, for just that reason.

Re:I'd crack... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#42761599)

and they dont just send any Tom Dick and Henry into space. These people are screened, physically and psychologically, for just that reason.

Yes, but that's the whole point: OP was talking about regular Joes, not highly trained astronauts going into space.

Re:I'd crack... (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year ago | (#42762025)

The submariners are certainly decent test cases, but a Mars mission has more implications. The Sub 'can' surface and go to port if someone gets deathly ill. Mars you don't have that option.

But as you say, it's something being researched, but we haven't fully explored it all yet.

Re:I'd crack... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42762033)

What makes you think it has to be tiny? If they're building by sintering the lunar soil, they have quite a bit of material to work with.

Lots of slashdotters do their level best to never leave the basement, so I'm positive that they can find some people who would do fine in that environment.

If you want to call people who can live in that environment happily weird or sick or whatever, you can probably find lots of people to agree with you. But the fact remains that they exist.

Printing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42758919)

Sure.
Use a big ol' fresnel lens to sinter moonrock too.

Advantage? (1)

symes (835608) | about a year ago | (#42758999)

Surely the payload of a printer and materials will be greater than the prefabricated materials alone? Isn't this more costly? And why build, why not find somewhere where there is a cave and use the moon as a natural defense?

Re:Advantage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42759115)

thats kind of dim.

presumably they would be shipping up a gantry, disassembled....and coming up with a process where lunar materials can be
processed into a material suitable for extrusion.

Re:Advantage? (1)

isorox (205688) | about a year ago | (#42759417)

Surely the payload of a printer and materials will be greater than the prefabricated materials alone? Isn't this more costly? And why build, why not find somewhere where there is a cave and use the moon as a natural defense?

Not many caves on the moon for obvious reasons

Re:Advantage? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#42767321)

Obviously no water eroded caves.

Perhaps old lava tubes. Also perhaps weird geology (not the correct word, some pendant will be along) resulting from cooling shrink.

The gravity of the moon is highly irregular. Which makes me think the moon is not homogeneous.

We don't know.

Re:Advantage? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year ago | (#42762053)

The 'materials' aren't being sent. They're using the regolith from the moon.

Even if you send some feedstock for the process, if you just build 1 building or small colony it may not make sense. But long term production on the moon's surface is going to MUCH cheaper than flying in everything.

Re:Advantage? (1)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year ago | (#42762459)

Surely the payload of a printer and materials will be greater than the prefabricated materials alone? Isn't this more costly?

Imagine for a moment that some years from now (maybe 5, 10, 15) new techniques allow for the harvesting and use of materials directly on the surface of the moon (or, imagine, another planet), perhaps even automated harvesting/mining of materials (e.g. imagine a small team of robots could scour the moon for new materials to feed into the machine). When combined with this technique, it could then become possible to far more cheaply build large numbers of such structures, with many potential applications and uses. Then the initial materials would constitute an investment of sorts.

I wonder what they will wear inside the moon base (2)

jad4 (87988) | about a year ago | (#42759119)

Purple wigs and silver miniskirts? Will they have coffee ready for when Cmdr. Straker visits? We can only hope.

Achtung! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42761597)

Straker? No, that would be Caporal François or Oberstleutnant König.

This is the most stupid thing ever posted on / (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42759481)

The combination of the retarded 3D printing obsession and the delusions of the private space Nutters is not like a Reese peanut butter cup. It doesn't make more sense to combine two stupid things, guys.

Re:This is the most stupid thing ever posted on / (1)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year ago | (#42762507)

What it is with the anti-space trolls on slashdot lately? I'm sure it's just 2 or 3 individuals, but every space-related article you come crawling out of the woodwork and paste the exact same crap, like calling people "space Nutters". You know what's really idiotic? Any "intelligent" species that thinks it actually makes sense to stay home and wait for the entire species to be obliterated by an impact, like the dinosaurs.

They're using a consumer 3D printer (1)

coofercat (719737) | about a year ago | (#42759865)

They're using a printer you can buy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Draper-57567-Square-Mouth-Shovel-Fibreglass/dp/B0002GUMDW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359722298&sr=8-1 [amazon.co.uk]

Why the hell would you build anything for 4 people? Surely they can live in a big hole with a lid, can't they? This seems more like a job for a mining machine than a 3D printer. Then again, I'm not a rocket scientist, so I don't know what I'm talking about.

Great Plan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42759869)

Because 3D printers don't require building materials. And getting a 3D printer large enough to print a building to the moon sounds pretty easy as well!

Space Colonies 101 (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year ago | (#42760131)

The collective scientific and engineering minds behind space exploration seem clear on the order of crystal that limiting the payload weight of objects leaving Earth's gravitational field is non-negotiable. It follows that making things necessary for survival from raw materials off-planet is going to be mandatory for any successful spread of humanity off this rock. There will come a day when mankind is either thankful or filled with regret regarding our progress in these endeavors.

Gravity going be a issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760409)

I think its great way to use limited resources to try use a 3D printer to put things together up there. Though i think the low gravity could be an issue.
Their talking about huge structure, they want to build, won't the low gravity be challenging for a 3D printer which so far only been used on Earth?

Re:Gravity going be a issue? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#42761641)

I'd have thought that low gravity was an advantage if you want to build a huge structure, but I cheerfully admit I'm no architect, structural engineer or brickie.

Conspiracy in the making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42760555)

I am sure we will be told that is what happened then the ESA will simply convert one of the alien ruins to the base.

Go back to living in a cave, hominid (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about a year ago | (#42760885)

Seems to me the easiest and safest bet is to prospect for suitable caves and then turn them into dwellings.

Any fabrication will be problematic at the beginning, we should do like our ancestors and use what's already there first.

Re:Go back to living in a cave, hominid (1)

jackbird (721605) | about a year ago | (#42761825)

No liquids of any kind plus no sedimentary rock plus no volcanism (ie lava tubes) for eons means no caves.

Re:Go back to living in a cave, hominid (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#42767391)

No erosion for eons ether. So perhaps lava tubes. At lunar gravity perhaps very large lava tubes.

Highly irregular gravitational field. There is something strange going on under the moons surface.

Also note: Thermal shrinkage of moon has cracked it.

Going into the moon provides shielding. Even if you have to tunnel.

Subtractive methods. Robotic drillers/shovels and high explosives.

Re:Go back to living in a cave, hominid (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year ago | (#42762129)

Dig hole. Put in habitat. Cover hole. Instant 'cave' :)

Re:Go back to living in a cave, hominid (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about a year ago | (#42763343)

Dig hole. Put in habitat. Cover hole. Instant 'cave' :)

That's exactly what I was thinking, along with "inflatable dome over cave entrance / airlock to facilitate surface work / vehicle storage, with emergency procedures to hightail it underground if you get warning of a potential meteor strike / radiation event / etc."

All living quarters and environmental support equipment should be underground at the bare minimum, and most of the working areas too. Spend time figuring out how to reliably seal and pressurize an excavation, folks.

Re:Go back to living in a cave, hominid (1)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year ago | (#42762549)

Actually, considering the use of existing structures like caves is one of the options for consideration for missions to other bodies in the solar system, it's a worthwhile suggestion. What we should probably do is use robotic cave exploration to learn more about the nature and suitability of the caves (whether Moon or Mars). I think the point of this though is to explore the option of automated or semi-automated construction, which I suspect in the longer term may have more advantages.

what's wrong with concrete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42761875)

Seems like a much smarter idea with far less dreamy bullsh*t. But then again, I have a feeling this is driven by marketing.

Re:what's wrong with concrete? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765171)

Concrete requires water. Water is heavy - the only water they'll be able to take will be for drinking.

The space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42762319)

Who owns the moon? Can anybody really claim ownership, and therefore sell the land to this firm?
I don't think it's right, and it really doesn't serve any useful pupose, more than giving these people some fancy spotlights.
All research we want to do can be done in other ways without bringing our disgusting habits to the moon.
We really don't need to start littering down the moon as well as our wonderful planet.
Our oceans are already filled with plastic, please don't bury the moon in artificial crap too.

Nothing new here... NASA already has the plans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42762969)

Contour Crafting was developed by Berok Khoshnevis, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at USC's Viterbi School of Engineering over a decade ago and is the simple way to approach the problem. You only launch and transport a small robotic machine and use it to craft the components for a larger machine and support machines. These machines can be fabricated from raw materials on the moon so the initial investment is small. We already know there is water in the polar regions of the moon and Mars so the raw materials are already there. You send a rover to build it and when it's done you go there and move in. No rush, lots of time to build it robotically. http://rs20.abstractdns.com/~contourc/contourcrafting/

One more time? (1)

dhomstad (1424117) | about a year ago | (#42763491)

Since transporting building materials to space is a challenge, the team is considering using on-site 3D printing as a solution."

How does using an on-site 3D printer solve this problem? Last time I checked, you need input materials. Unless you're harvesting those materials in outer space, they're going to be sourced from earth. In my opinion, you're trading manufacturing quality on earth for the cargo volume difference between a more spacious pre-asssembled part and some amorphous bag of resin

Also, if this thing is never going to be used by humans, let's just make a monument for humanity. My best suggestion is Daft Punk's set from their Alive 2007 Tour http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&safe=off&sa=G&tbo=d&biw=1364&bih=683&tbm=isch&tbnid=YQxV3ckNYEiclM:&imgrefurl=http://www.vibe.com/photo-gallery/daft-punk-signed-columbia-records-daft-punk-photographic-history&docid=ePpe3tP66xYfyM&imgurl=http://www.vibe.com/sites/vibe.com/files/photo_gallery_images/2007%252520%25252522Alive%252520Tour%25252522.jpg&w=650&h=365&ei=kQsMUf6iEJO-9QTZv4GYBg&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:2,s:0,i:91&iact=rc&dur=2097&sig=112557253512712023348&page=1&tbnh=168&tbnw=300&start=0&ndsp=18&tx=117&ty=10 [google.com]

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